One Year

It is amazing the difference that a year can make!  Last May, I was looking for solutions for my son.  And I didn’t feel like I was making progress at all.

For my new readers, I’ll try to summarize quickly.  My youngest had to take speech classes starting in kindergarten.  I did not realize the effect that this would have on his reading.  Logically, it makes sense – the sounds that the letters make are off inside his head – so yes, reading is going to be difficult.  The letters that make up words are not going to make sense.  The words that make up sentences aren’t going to make sense.  I wish I knew all this back then.

Anyway, last year he kept scoring low on his reading tests.  I tried working with the school.  I tried working with a tutor.  Nothing was working.  He was getting more frustrated.  Then there was a huge blow up with a scratch being believed to be more than an accident, CPS was called; as a result my son did not want to go to school at all.  He no longer trusted the adults there.  And honestly, I didn’t blame him.  I didn’t trust the adults there any longer either.  How could I ask him to?

The bright side of that, I guess, was that it happened so closely towards the end of the school year.  We took about a month off.  Then I tried Sylvan.  A friend had taken her child to Sylvan and had wonderful things to say about them.  We went in for a consultation.  It was amazing.  After an hour of testing they told me the things that I already knew about my son, that I could not get others to believe or help with.  His comprehension was not low, as previous tests had shown.  The scores showed low because he gave up on reading the story because reading was hard.  If the story was read out loud to him, his comprehension was very high. The problem had always been the reading, not the comprehension.  They agreed!  And a plan was made to help!

He went all summer, fall, and in to winter.  Sylvan is expensive.  But, it is worth every single penny.  His reading went up two grade levels in months.  He had just a tiny blossom of confidence starting.

He has had an amazing teacher at school this year.  (I’ve long been a fan!)  She has a wonderful ability to encourage children to do their best, while holding them responsible for their efforts.  She makes them want to learn and do better.  It is a joy to watch.  She has made him want to try his best.  His confidence has been soaring!  He trusts adults at the school again . . well not all.  But he certainly trusts her.

This child . . this child picked me flowers for Mother’s Day from the yard.  That is good.  What is extraordinary is that he wrote me a story to go with the flowers.  It is a short story.  It isn’t punctuated correctly.  But he voluntarily wrote me a story.  That is amazing.

He brought home a book report today.  He was so proud of himself.  He scored very well.  And this book report, this last one of the year, he read more than one book.  He lost his first book when he was half way thru.  So he read another one in the series. He finished reading it early this time.  He started writing the report early.  He was not up way past bedtime working the night before.  He did not cry.  He did not get frustrated.  He felt capable of the task.  It was very good.

Tonight I am thankful for the changes that can happen in one year!  I am thankful for my son’s confidence!  And I am thankful that we will keep going up from here!  I know there’ll still be some rough times . . but they are no longer the defining times for him, and for that, I am truly thankful!


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